Over the years, I’ve seen friends and family members come and go. Through this circle of life, it’s helped me better understand the relationships and encounters I have with people. Some people are meant to be in your life for a lifetime. Others come into your life for a reason. Then, there are those remaining few that linger around your life for a season. As I grow and mature, I’ve learned to accept the things I cannot change. In growing up, if death doesn’t take a person away from you, God or fate will by causing you to simply grow apart from those people. Through this natural state of progression, the one thing that I never quite understood during those transitional times is the notion that the people who you’re naturally growing apart from, become mad or upset that you aren’t on the same wave length, or level, that they are anymore. Why is it such a big deal to grow apart?
Every quarter of the year, I do an evaluation of the people in my life. Since I pray for them all everyday, I invest the extra time spent with God awaiting for his direction, or spirit of discernment, to reveal to me if the people around me are good for me, meant to be in my life moving forward, or if I need to leave someone behind. With patience, each time He always comes through and shows me what I need to know. The irony of it all is that each person He’s ever revealed to me, I’d already seen several warning signs about their character before I even came to The Lord about them.
That’s just like God. He will always send you warning signs prior to: a breakup, end of a friendship(s), distance from a relative(s), or a final departure from any business relationship(s). He never wants any of His children to fail. However, it’s our job to listen / look out for the warning signs. These signs typically come to show us when we aren’t on the same page with others and when it’s time to let them go. They come to save us from ourselves and from falling down a dark path we’re not meant to travel. Regardless of the connection shared, there comes a time in everyone’s life when things aren’t clicking anymore indicating a time for change. In those moments, we must all be brave enough to step out on faith and make the changes needed to get us to the road of living our best life.
Here are ten (10) warning signs that always show up when it’s time to evaluate and move on from any relationship:
- They aren’t speaking life into you by encouraging you to pursue your dreams.
- They aren’t supportive of your current / new exciting endeavors / business ideas.
- They bring you down by adding fuel to the firestorm surrounding your life.
- They talk bad behind your back.
- They are always putting down your ideas, personality, character, looks, etc.
- They antagonize you (meaning they never have anything nice to say to you or are always trying to start an argument/ fight with you).
- They use you, take advantage of you, or don’t value your time, the friendship or the relationship.
- They encourage bad behavior, addictions, or anything your struggling to overcome.
- They don’t want to see you grow.
- They always want to remind you of the worst version of yourself.
These ten (10) bullet points are very important questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not the people surrounding you (friends, family, BF/GF, coworkers, spouse, business partners, etc.) are the right fit for your current life and who you are trying to evolve to (i.e. your future self). Don’t neglect the warning signs!!!
Before I got to the place I am now, with the small group of friends I have and where I seek God’s guidance about the people in my life, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I had to allow God to show me who was really for me, and at the time, it was pretty messy. It happened when I lost everything, stopped partying and drinking, wasn’t down for “hookups” or premarital sex anymore, and was focusing more time and energy into healing myself, getting my life together with God, and figuring out my destiny and purpose. It’s funny how everyone’s down for the ride when things are good, but as soon as your life is going bad, they jump ship and disappear. When the tsunami of life came crashing down around me, seeing those same friends and relatives who were once down for the ride leave me to fend for myself, had me feeling even more sad, hurt, alone and abandoned.
““Beware of your neighbor! Don’t even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend.” (Jeremiah 9:4 NLT)
Thankfully, that’s just where God needed me to be. For too long, I had the wrong people around me, clouding my judgement, dragging me down and keeping me from hearing the voice and direction of God. Once everyone was gone, my relationship with God strengthened. I even found my purpose in life. Yup, in those alone moments with God, I was able to identify who my real friends were, who really had my back, the people I needed to let go of, and the ones who were still trying to hold on to see how they could benefit from the next stage that God would take me. Graciously, in the midst of identifying the fake people who didn’t have my back, I found my crew. Through highlighting and removing all the people who weren’t fit to be in my life and the new place God is taking me to, He showed me who my real friends were.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 NLT)
I strongly encourage you to take a hard look around you and really ask yourself those bullet points I submitted at the beginning of this article. Once you gain clarity of who’s really for you, beware of the traps set by the enemy. There will come a time when those same people who you let go will try to come back into your life reminding you once again of the “good ole’ times,” the person you used to be, the lifestyle you once lived, and the things you used to do with them.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)
In those moments, you have to pray for the spirit of discernment to be able to recognize their schemes. Keep in mind that there won’t always be a warning sign prior to their arrival. They may just pop up on you at home, at the office, or you may just stumble upon them at the grocery store or driving around town. It’s your job to stay focused on who you’re trying to become, as well as why you distanced yourself from that person(s) in the first place.
“You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.” (2 Peter 3:17 NLT)
When they see you shining, living and thriving without them, they may try to bring you down to their level by bating you into an argument, judging you, mocking you, scolding you or trying to persuade you into turning back into the person you once were. Don’t fall for the game! People will always judge you based on the season they walked in on, or the season they left you in. That doesn’t mean that you made a bad choice by growing up, walking away from them, or ending your relationship with them. You did what’s best for you and that’s the only opinion that matters! People will choose to deal with you according to their own comfort level. It’s up to you to put your foot down and do like Aretha Franklin! #R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” (Colossians 3:2 NLT)
So today’s lesson is just about staying true to yourself, focusing on finding, keeping, and sustaining your peace and happiness. Be a leader of your own life and follow your own individual path wherever it may lead you. Take a moment to look around you and ensure that you have the right team of people in your corner. Rid yourself from those that weigh you down and never look back. The best rule of thumb to remember is that: Life is too short to live it unhappy!
Sincerely with love,
Travel photography by IG user: @chipphillipsphoto